Double Bias of Mistakes: Essence, Consequences, and Measurement Method




Cognitive bias of mistakes, Double bias of mistakes, Knowledge culture, Learning culture, Collaborative culture, Company culture, Organizational intelligence, Collective intelligence, Fixed mindset, Growth mindset, Change adaptability, Tacit knowledge sharing, Explicit knowledge sharing, Trust, The KLC cultures approach


There is no learning without mistakes. However, there is a clash between ‘positive attitudes and beliefs’ regarding learning processes and the ‘negative attitudes and beliefs’ toward these being accompanied by mistakes. This clash exposes a cognitive bias toward mistakes that might block personal and organizational learning. This study presents an advanced measurement method to assess the bias of mistakes. The essence of it is the detection of the existing contradictions between attitude and behavior toward mistakes at the personal and organizational levels, as well as combined. This study is based on empirical evidence from a sample of 768 knowledge workers, divided into biased and non-biased subsamples following the procedure proposed in this paper. Those subsamples were next applied to the structural model, examining knowledge, learning, and collaboration cultures (the KLC approach) 's influence on organizational intelligence to validate the proposed method. Results showed that the applied method efficiently detects the DBM and exposes that in doubly mistakes-biased knowledge-driven organizations, the influence of knowledge culture on the mistakes acceptance component of learning culture is negative. So, organizations with a dominated double bias of mistakes do not accept the affirmation of learning from mistakes. Summing up, this study constitutes the Double Bias of Mistakes Theory, which states that the clash between positive attitudes and beliefs regarding learning processes and negative attitudes and beliefs toward mistakes exposed by focusing on control managers (bosses) might block organizational learning from mistakes and, as a consequence, negatively affect organizational intelligence. Without the empirical support for this theory, there was a risk that the idea of accepting mistakes as a potential source of learning would be simplified by biased minds to mistakes tolerance and rejected as ridiculous. Accepting that mistakes can be a source of precious learning does not equal mistake tolerance. On the contrary, it is the first step to managing mistakes and creating efficient error avoidance systems thanks to lessons learned from failures. This study introduces the method of measurement and detection of the Double Bias of Mistakes phenomenon, contributing to the science of organizational learning and collective intelligence-building.



21 May 2024